No Moiré! – A Lightroom Workflow

No Moiré!- A Lightroom Workflow

I knew when I purchased the Nikon D800E, the model with the anti-aliasing filter removed, that my chances of experiencing moiré in my photos would increase.  The camera’s anti-aliasing filter covers your camera’s sensor and slightly degrades the sharpness so that moiré and other unwanted artifacts are removed.  Remove the filter and sharpness increases.  That’s good!  The chance of getting moiré in my photos was a completely lower priority than getting the sharpest image possible.  From what I had read, moiré was the most prevalent in man-made objects that have fine detail and where the pattern closely matches the pixel pattern on the camera’s sensor.   Clothing and architecture were the two subject matters that moiré had a higher probability of appearing in.  I didn’t think my landscape photography had a high likelihood of moiré, but the subjects (buildings) in my aerial photography projects might possibly produce a moiré pattern.  But what exactly is moiré?

More and more camera manufacturers are removing the anti-aliasing filter from their high end digital cameras to increase sharpness with the understanding that moiré might be an issue under certain shooting conditions.  When you are shooting a subject that has close parallel lines, like a building’s metal roof for example, and the pattern closely matches the pattern of your camera’s digital sensor, you have a higher likelihood of seeing moiré creep into your imagery.    See the example below:

https://support.nikonusa.com

Figure 1:  How to make a moiré pattern (https://support.nikonusa.com)

 

As you can see from the example from Nikon’s support page, you have Pattern 1 (our subject matter), Pattern 2 (our camera’s sensor design), and when the two overlap you get a third pattern which is moiré.  Here is an example from a recent aerial photo for a client:

 

 

As you can see from this shot, nothing really pops out at you at this scale.  Moiré can be easily missed if you don’t carefully look over your image for the pattern.  Looking a bit closer at the green roof of the front building we can see the pattern easily.

 

 

On the left side of the roof you’ll see what looks like a yellowish/orange banding appear diagonally across the lines of the metal roof panels.  This is moiré.  So now what?  You’ve identified it, but how do you fix it?  First of all, it’s best to take care of it at image capture.  There are a few things that you can do at the time of capture to remove or reduce the effects of moiré:

1.  Change your camera’s focus point.

2.  Change your shooting angle.

3.  Change your position.

4.  Change your focal length.

That sounds easy, but if you’ve got a great composition and don’t want to change any of the above, your only option is to edit in post production.

 

 

 Removing Moiré in Post

I have only had to deal with moiré once so far, knock on wood, so I’m far from an expert….and that’s a good thing for me!  I’d say about 60% of the images from my most recent aerial photography project had moiré on the building’s green roof.  We’ll use an image from this project to work through the steps to completely remove the moiré pattern from the image while maintaining acceptable sharpness.

Searching “removing moiré from photos” in Google pulls up over 400,000 hits with a dizzying amount of techniques using a wide variety of software packages with the most hits referring to Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom.  I initially tried some recommended techniques (such as creating a layer of just the roof and using a Gaussian Blur on it) using Photoshop and didn’t have much luck.   The Gaussian Blur did not retain acceptable sharpness of the roof and the workflow was a bit laborious.  I needed to maintain the quality of the image while using a workflow that didn’t take a long time.  Then I tried Lightroom 5.

The adjustment brush in Lightroom 5 is an amazing tool.  I had used it previously to dodge and burn different areas of a photo but had never used it for anything else.  The following tutorial assumes you understand the basics of using Lightroom 5, including how to import, edit in develop, and so on.

1. It is assumed that you have imported, backed up, and performed your normal workflow in LR5.

2. Select the image you want to edit go to the Develop Module.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.50.21 AM

 

I’m working with a highly cropped portion of the original image.  While editing the image make sure you zoom close enough to see the moiré.

 

3.  Select the Adjustment Brush.

Adjustment Brush

 

4.  Next to “Effect”, select the “Moiré” setting.  This should zero out all other adjustments and set the “Moiré” amount to 25, a good starting point.

Moiré adjustment panel

 

5.  Select a brush size as appropriate and paint over the areas where moiré exists.  To help visualize the areas covered by the brush you can go to:  Tools > Adjustment Brush Overlay  and then select a color.  I chose red for my example.

 

When finished click “Done” and you should see the results of your moiré adjustment.  In the photo below, you can see that the setting of 25 did not remove enough of the moiré pattern from the image.

 

Moiré adjustment brush at 25

 

What’s nice about the adjustment brush is that you can select it again, and then select the “adjustment node” (for lack of a better word) and then change the intensity of the brush and click done.  In this next example I have changed the intensity from 25 to 60 and the steps are shown on the image.

 

Moiré removal steps

Step 1: Select the adjustment brush. Step 2: Select the adjustment node. Step 3: Increase the moiré amount to desired setting. Step 4: Select “Done”.

 

Always use the lowest intensity of the moiré adjustment brush that you can for removal.  Some moiré will not be able to be removed completely.  At the moiré setting of 60, I still had traces of moiré in the sampled area so I ultimately had to move it to 100 before the pattern was removed to an acceptable level.

 

Moiré pattern removed

 

6.  Once you’re happy with the results, finish painting out the area like we did in previous steps and you’re done.

 

Finished moiré removal results in Lightroom 5

 

I hope that this blog tip helps you out.  Feel free to post comments and other tips below.

Thanks for reading!

 

-T

Posted in Tips & Tricks Tagged , , , |

Lyrid Meteor Shower Timelapse

Here’s a quick video of the Lyrid Meteor shower.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture it at its peak, but I don’t think it would’ve mattered much given the amount of light pollution in the area where I live.  The time lapse is composed of over 900 images taken over roughly 6 hours.  I started off in manual  mode with a 20 second exposure and 25 second interval (5 sec between shots).  For the “Holy Grail” transition from night to day, I switched to Aperture priority mode and allowed the shutter speed to float as necessary.  Post processing was done in Adobe Lightroom using LRTimeLapse.

6Hr Timelapse during the Lyrid Meteor shower from Tom Replogle on Vimeo.

Enjoy,

Tom

Posted in Astrophotography, Tips & Tricks

St. Louis – Day 1

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My work has brought me to the great city of St. Louis, Missouri for a few days.  During my “off time” I have been out exploring the area.  Here are some pics from day one in the city and include shots from Old North St. Louis, Historic Soulard Farmer’s Market, and of course the Arch.

Posted in My Photography

Focus Stacking Primer

Example of increased depth of field by stacking the focus using Helicon softwareFocus Stacking Primer

The Problem.

I’ve been shooting a bunch of macro and close-up photography lately and have enjoyed it immensely.  The ability to get up close and personal with flowers and insects and create images of them that almost pop out of the picture is a lot of fun.  The only real challenge has been with the very shallow depth of field (zone of focus) when using a macro lens and/or extension tubes.  As magnification of a lens increases, depth of field decreases until ultimately, at max magnification,  you have a little sliver of focus in your photo.

There are several ways to increase the depth of field for a given magnification.  The most obvious is stoppingdown, or selecting a smaller aperture, on your lens.  At high magnification, this doesn’t do a whole lot and you’ll likely still wish more was in focus. (See photo on the left.  The foreground flower is in focus but the background is clearly out of focus).  The next thing you could try, if you have a couple thousand to spend, is a tilt-shift lens.  Both Nikon and Canon make these special lenses but they come with a hefty price tag.  Tilt-shift lenses work just like large format cameras allowing you to tilt the lens, or plane of focus, allowing a slice of focus to extend into your photo rather than on a flat vertical plane. Tilting your lens along with a small aperture can give you nice results but it’s expensive and I’m not sure how well tilt-shift lenses would work with extension tubes and macro subject matter.  Although if someone would want to contribute a tilt-shift lens to my cause I’d be happy to test it out. I shoot Nikon. 🙂

The Solution

The solution, as it turns out, is a process called focus stacking.  Focus stacking is a process similar to shooting high dynamic range (HDR) images; where you shoot multiple images and bring them together in a software package to get your final desired result.  With HDR you are shooting at different exposures so that your final image has an increased dynamic range (typically used in high contrast conditions).  With focus stacking you are shooting a series of images, with each successive image focused deeper into the background.  The final result is photograph with sharp focus from foreground to background.

It is absolutely vital that there is no movement of your subject matter or your camera when shooting.  Wind is your enemy.  A sturdy tripod is a must.  Other helpful tools are a wired or wireless shutter release and clips to help hold flowers, insects, etc. steady while you photograph them. Once you’re all set up, look at the areas in the frame that you want in sharp focus.  Note the closest and most distant area and then start shooting.  Shoot the first frame with the closest area in focus and continue focusing into the frame with each successive shot until you’ve covered the entire area.  Once you’re done shooting, it’s off to the computer.

You’ve got some options when it comes to focus stacking software.  Helicon Focus and Zerene Stacker are Screen shot of focus stacking software called Helicon Focusstand alone software packages that do all of the aligning and stacking for you and are pretty much fully automated.  The only thing you have to do is select your images, configure a few parameters, and away it goes building your composite image right in front of your eyes.  Photoshop is another option but is not as user friendly….at least not for my workflow.  Both Helicon Focus and Zerene Stacker have full functioning demos that you can download for 30 days.  I downloaded them both and have set out to determine which one is right for me.  Since I am far from mastering either of these software packages at this time, I’ll leave it to you to determine which one is right for you.  So far, both have done an amazing job.  Maybe in the future I’ll put them head to head.  Stay tuned.

-Tom Replogle

 

 

Posted in Tips & Tricks

Photo of Sunburst over Cement Creek

Landscape Photo of Sunburst over Cement Creek

I haven’t been able to shoot much lately so I thought I’d revisit some photos I shot last summer.  It’s amazing how time can change the way you feel about a photograph.  Whenever I process a shoot on the computer I use Apple’s Aperture to rank them.  Images that are blurred, out of focus, duplicates, etc… get deleted immediately.  The remainder of the photos get ranked from 1-5, with 5 being perfect.  Needless to say there are not as many 5’s as I’d like.  🙂  This photo was taken just east of Crested Butte, CO on Cement Creek.  It initially ranked a 2, probably because the lens flare was a bit extreme.  I’m sure I had a different vision for this photo that didn’t match what I was seeing on the computer.  Now, almost a year later, I view the photo on my screen with fresh eyes and I actually like the flare.  It’s definitely not a 5….very few are….but I think it deserves a ranking higher than 2.  Perhaps a 3. 🙂  So don’t immediately delete those not-so-perfect shots.  Give yourself some time to review and critique your photos.  After all, hard drive space is cheap.

This photo was shot in 2012 near Crested Butte, CO.

This photo was shot in 2012 near Crested Butte, CO.

info: HDR comprised of 5 images.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor 16mm
ISO: 100
Aperture: ƒ/22
Shutter Speed:  Various

 

©2013 – Tom Replogle Photography 

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Posted in My Photography Tagged , |

Arizona Homestead

D800_20130301-182854

 

This windmill caught my eye as I was driving Hwy 88 towards Canyon Lake just east of Phoenix.  It still appeared operational and was likely used to pump water from this arid land.

The lighting wasn’t optimal so I decided to shoot this as an HDR.  This image is made from 5 images shot at varying shutter speeds.

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor 24-70

 

Posted in My Photography

A Weekend in Arizona

My wife and I recently took a trip to Scottsdale, AZ and I was able to sneak away into the desert to shoot some pics while there.  My intent was shoot some star trails but unfortunately the location I hiked to was located beneath one of the arrivals into Sky Harbor Airport.  Airplanes were everywhere!  Bummer!  You’d think a pilot would know better!  HaHa!  🙂  Here are a few of the images.  Enjoy!

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Photo info:

Location:  Hwy 88 east of Phoenix

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: NIKKOR 14-24mm

Posted in My Photography

Double Rainbow (Glory) Around our Chopper’s Shadow

This was shot last year (2012) as we were flying to a photo shoot in a Robinson R22 Helicopter.  The doors were off and we were cruising at 6,000′ when I looked down and noticed a double rainbow, or Glory, below us on a cloud.  I threw on my 16mm lens and snapped this shot.Double Glory

Posted in This & That

“Todd” the Red Fox

My daughter and her friend named this little guy “Todd”.  He showed up at our Crested Butte house daily looking for any dropped food.  With 6 kids running around the house the odds were in his favor!

Posted in My Photography

Cabin & Stars

Amazing stars tonight!

Posted in My Photography